FEATURE ARTICLE

Happiness Causes Liberty

Happiness Causes Liberty
 
Adam Kokesh 
(No Phone) 
Website: The Freedom Line
Date: 0000-00-00
Subject: Philosophy of Liberty

If you don't know how to be happy, what's the point of being free? What good is it to live in a free society, in a free country, or even a free world, if you are such an emotional cripple that you are incapable of enjoying it? Why would you struggle to escape the oppression of police and parliaments and presidents to remain a slave to fear and insecurity? These aren't just philosophical questions to ponder, but questions of practical relevance to anyone who cares about liberty - who I would presume cares about liberty because it is essential to human happiness. Many would assume that liberty should lead to happiness, but is that a fair summary of the relationship? The way that most people understand liberty and happiness is backwards, perverted by primitive thinking. Happiness is not the result of liberty. Happiness causes liberty!

For most people, their understanding is warped by the process implied by, "life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness." This is generally thought of as a progression: if you have life, you can have liberty, if you have liberty, you can pursue happiness. Certainly, without life, liberty and happiness can’t exist, but do you need liberty to be happy? Most certainly not! Even the word "pursuit" is deceptive. Happiness is not pursued, captured, beaten over the head with a club, and hauled home to be enjoyed forever and ever! How often has it been pointed out that money can't buy happiness? Some studies have shown that money can "buy" happiness only to the point at which money can no longer buy independence, but that independence is based on an illusion of external conditions. The most successful people, by any measure, are as prone to misery and depression as anyone else. If anything, by looking at the modern world and antidepressant consumption, we might conclude that wealth causes depression! Even a brief examination of the human condition reveals that happiness is not a pursuit as much as a choice.

True mental freedom is empowerment to choose your state of mind. If the only happiness you ever know is dependent on external factors, you will remain a slave to circumstance and never be truly happy. You can only swing between happiness and fear, knowing deep down that if conditions beyond your control change, you won't be happy. What a sad state of emotional servitude! What a terrible position of vulnerability! A crude animal in such a primitive state is dangerously prone to manipulation against its own interests. While you will never control the challenges that life presents you with, and you may never master your animalistic reactions, your mood and your frame of mind are YOUR CHOICE! This is the unique gift of human consciousness. This is the truest beauty of human nature. This is the foundation of our capacity for love and connectedness ... and thus liberty!

Being happy is as simple as changing your mind! Of course, this speaks to a range of mental states we can choose. With true mental freedom, we can choose to be determined, thoughtful, compassionate, patient, loving - but beneath all that, why would you ever CHOOSE to be any less than perfectly happy?! While it really is that simple and it really is that easy, it is a discipline of happiness.
 

As we are animals, emotions serve an essential role for survival. Fear and the "fight or flight" response has saved countless lives, but having experienced the evolutionary "brain explosion," such hardwired responses often take over our evolved brains and prevent us from fully using them. Rational fears become anxiety and insecurity. Disappointment becomes depression. Hostility becomes anger and hatred. The discipline of happiness is separating these reactions from how we should deliberately choose to live our lives. It is the practice of living well. This unique empowerment liberates us (as individuals and as a species) from all past misdeeds of our primitive nature. Living well is not just the best revenge; it is the only revenge worth having! But if you choose to dwell in fear, disappointment and hostility, and CHOOSE to be unhappy ... then you’ll be unhappy. So there.

We are programmed to fear death, but wouldn't you rather face it rationally? Calmly? Happily? Fear not only makes us vulnerable to manipulation by those who would oppress us, but it also tempts us to BE oppressors. The tyranny of democracy in the modern state encourages the greatest participation in fear-based oppression. Every politician's pitch is based on some version of, "If you give me power over you, I can make you happy and take away your fear." In the act of voting, we are not choosing leaders for ourselves; we are trying to impose our choice of leaders (and fears) on others. We should instead seek to be the alphas of our own lives. Someone who is truly emotionally free has no need for imposed external authority The people who are the driving force behind statism are not happy people, and truly happy people are not very political. The liberty movement is not a political movement. It is an ANTI-political movement! Government is based on ideas so good they have to be forced on people! But a truly happy person can appeal to the better nature of fellow human beings, can meet them with peace and persuasion and displace the coercion of the state with voluntary relationships and self-rule based on absolute self-ownership.

A person who knows their own capacity as a free, beautiful, independent human being will never say, "But what will people think of me?" A person who can be happy in any situation will never say, "But what if I lose my job?" A person who knows self-discipline will never say, "But what if the sacrifice is too great?" The compassion of a truly happy person will say, "How could I possibly NOT share my joy and let some poor VICTIMIZER continue in the misery of OPPRESSING OTHERS?" Only a mental slave will hate their oppressors. A free mind will pity them, and seek to share joy with those who are deficient of love. We should not "fight" oppression, or “struggle" for liberation, but rather seek to EMPOWER those who have succumbed to mental slavery.
 
 

The greatest weapon against tyranny is a mind that refuses to submit to manipulation. If you want to be a warrior for truth, a soldier for justice, and a champion of freedom, you must first attain the discipline of happiness and a great capacity for living in love. Be the master of your own mind. Choose your demeanor at all times. Never meet a fellow human being with force or coercion. Strive to live by reason. Smile because you're alive. Remember, HAPPINESS is the ultimate act of defiance.

Adam Kokesh Speech at the Revolution March on July 12, 2008:
 
 
 
 
Adam Kokesh is an American libertarian talk show host and activist. A decorated veteran of the War in Iraq, he would come to disparage war and advocate nonviolent resistance to power, in at times inventive and provocative ways. Visit his webpage at AdamVsTheMan.Com